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First pancreatic islet transplant from brain-dead donor conducted

Kyodo

Kyoto University Hospital said Friday it successfully transplanted pancreatic islets from a brain-dead donor to a diabetes patient Sunday.

It was the first transplant in Japan of pancreatic islets donated by a brain-dead donor.

The donor was a woman in her 60s, diagnosed as brain dead on Oct. 11. Her heart and liver were also donated for transplants at University of Tokyo Hospital and Nagoya University Hospital, respectively.

The recipient of the pancreatic islets is a man in his 50s suffering from type I diabetes.

Yasuhiro Iwanaga, assistant professor at Kyoto University who supervised the transplant, told a press conference: “We have confirmed the transplanted pancreatic islets are producing insulin. At present, the patient’s condition is stable.”

The surgery was not an extensive one, and Kyoto University completed it in around 30 minutes.

The islets produce insulin, which control blood sugar levels.

The Japanese Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association said in March that it would begin clinical studies for transplanting pancreatic islets from brain-dead donors. The patient had been on a recipient waiting list.